BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – Pro Neil Campbell of Fallbrook, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 30 pounds, 1 ounce Thursday to capture the lead in the $275,225 Stren Series Western Division tournament presented by Yamaha on the California Delta. With a two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 49-6, he now holds an 1-pound, 14-ounce lead over second place pro Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., who managed to haul in a total of 10 bass weighing 47-8 during the first two days of competition.
“Today was great,” said Campbell, who is targeting prespawn and spawning bass with soft-plastics around bedding areas in 12 feet of water. “I have been making pretty long runs and fishing different areas each day. I seem to catch fish at every place I stop. Today, I just went into one of my areas hoping to come out with at least a 15-pound limit. I just kept working the area over and over and came up with the right bites. I put the trolling motor down this morning and I didn’t pick it up until it was time to head back to weigh-in.
“I feel my area is replenishing itself with fish everyday. I am just going to go back in there and do that same thing all over again.”
Rounding out the top five pros are Mike Goodwin of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (10 bass, 45-8); Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif. (10 bass, 45-2); and Mike O’Shea of San Ramon, Calif. (10 bass, 43-12).
Jeff Lamy of San Jose, Calif., earned $268 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Pro Division thanks to a 11-pound, 14-ounce bass.
Pros are competing for as much as $65,000, including a 519VX Ranger powered by Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met, and valuable points toward qualifying for the $1 million Stren Series Championship in Mobile, Ala., Nov. 8-11 for a shot at $140,000. After four qualifying events are complete in each of the circuit’s five divisions, the top 40 pros from each division will advance to the championship. The highest-finishing pro from each division at the championship will also earn a spot in the $2 million 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where they will compete against top pros from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series and TBF (The Bass Federation) for bass fishing’s biggest prize – $1 million.
Curt Dowhower of Ripon, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division in the chase for a top award of $35,000, including a 519VX Ranger if contingency guidelines are met. He caught five bass weighing 24-9 while fishing with pro Jiggs Benn of Myrtle Creek, Ore., Wednesday and five bass weighing 13-10 while fishing with pro William McAninch of Carson, Calif., Thursday for a total of 10 bass weighing 38-3.
“I had a pretty good day,” said Dowhower, who was power fishing with tubes and jigs targeting spawn and postspawn fish. “The big bite seemed to be a little off today but we still caught fish. I was culling by 9 this morning. So far this has been a great experience. I have had two great partners and they have really helped me out.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Mike Iloski of Escondido, Calif. (10 bass, 33-10); Bob Brown of Logandale, Nev. (10 bass, 32-3); Craig Griffin of Lehi, Utah (eight bass, 31-13); and Chad Frie of Livermore, Calif. (10 bass, 31-13).
Chris Osheroff of Bryon, Calif., earned $138 for the Snickers Big Bass award in the Co-angler Division thanks to a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass.
The top 40 co-anglers from each Stren Series division will also advance to the championship, where they will fish for as much as $70,000. The highest-finishing co-angler from each division at the championship will then advance to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off at 6:30 each morning from Russo’s Marina located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Stren Series tournaments are four-day events consisting of two rounds. The entire field competes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the conclusion of Friday’s weigh-in, the field is cut to the top 10 pros and co-anglers based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weights. These anglers continue competition Saturday, with the winners determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
FLW Outdoors historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate in all of its bass tournaments.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.